Espanyol v Barcelona – Story of the match

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Gerard Pique netted a late equaliser as Barcelona salvaged a 1-1 derby draw at Espanyol which extended their unbeaten start to the LaLiga season to a club-record 22 games.

Espanyol had looked set to follow up last month’s shock Copa del Rey triumph over their neighbours with another upset when Gerard Moreno put them ahead in the 66th minute at a rain-drenched RCDE Stadium.

But Barca, whose cup quarter-final first-leg defeat here brought an end to their 29-match unbeaten run in all competitions this season, battled back and Pique ensured the spoils were shared.

Tweet of the match

Star man – Sergio Busquets

Sergio Busquets
Busquets tried to keep Barca moving in rain-drenched conditions (Steven Paston/Empics)

View from the bench

With this game coming in the middle of a two-legged Copa del Rey semi-final with Valencia, and the return of the Champions League on the horizon, Barca boss Ernesto Valverde opted to start with star man Lionel Messi on the bench along with Ivan Rakitic and Jordi Alba. New Espanyol loan signing Carlos Sanchez was also among the substitutes. Messi, Alba and Sanchez all came on in the second half.

Data point

Pep Guardiola
Guardiola’s side had started the 2009/10 season with a 21-match unbeaten run (Mike Egerton/Empics)

Player ratings

Espanyol: Diego Lopez 6 (out of 10), Marc Navarro 6, David Lopez 6, Naldo 6, Aaron Martin 6, Victor Sanchez 6, Sergi Darder 6, Leo Baptistao, 7 Esteban Granero 6, Jose Manuel Jurado 6, Gerard Moreno 7. Substitutes: Sergio Garcia (for Jurado, 61) 6, Javi Lopez (for Navarro, 76) 6, Carlos Sanchez (for Baptistao, 86), 6.

Barcelona: Marc-Andre ter Stegen 6, Nelson Semedo 6, Gerard Pique 7, Samuel Umtiti 6, Lucas Digne 6, Philippe Coutinho 6, Paulinho 6, Sergio Busquets 7, Andres Iniesta 6, Paco Alcacer 6, Luis Suarez 6. Substitutes: Lionel Messi (for Alcacer, 59) 6, Sergi Roberto (for Semedo, 59) 6, Jordi Alba (for Digne, 75) 6.

Who’s up next?

Valencia v Barcelona (Copa del Rey semi-final second leg, February 8)
Celta Vigo v Espanyol (LaLiga, February 11)

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